Salt Water Fish Tank

One has to read, interact with aquarium shops, hobbyists and learn a lot before embarking on this hobby. Education and information can ensure that the fish live healthy and longer, saving lots of money.

A few things like the tank size, water salinity and chemical composition, lighting and filtration, fish combination etc. if taken care off, and then one can have an enjoyable experience as an aquarist.

Seawater can be used in the tank if one is living near a sea or special salt available at the aquarium shops can be mixed with fresh water. When you use seawater, make sure the water is unpolluted. Fetching seawater far from ports and harbors is advisable in this regard. Cooking salt is never mixed to fresh water to create marine water for aquariums.

A compatible combination of fish should be chosen for the tank. Surely, you don’t want to have a fish in the tank, which can have the other fish for breakfast. There are lists of compatibility available and the choice of fish should be based on that to avoid aggressive fish killing tender and shy fish, fish unable to adjust to change in habitat, invertebrates getting killed by treatment for saltwater “ich” of fish etc.

There is plenty of literature around, on this hobby. If studied carefully and followed, the aquarist hobby can be an enjoyable one. The sweat involved initially may be salty but the end result will definitely be sweet. The salt-water fish tank would symbolize color and life in your home.

Angler Fish

There are more than 200 known species of Anglerfish in the world, and more might be found in the future since a lot of the Angler fish species inhabit great depths far down in the ocean where humans and their research equipment seldom venture. The Anglefish species are not contained in any special family or genera, they are instead spread out over several different families. They do however belong to the same order; Lophiiformes. (The order of the bony fishes.)

Angel fish species are famous for their capability to kill and consume prey that is much larger than them selves. The ambush effect makes it possible for Angelfishes to kill large prey and their adaptable body makes it possible for them to swallow the catch. Their jaws can be distended to accommodate huge prey and their thin and flexible bones make their stomach larger. The stomach of an Angler fish is very stretchy.

As mentioned above, a lot of the Anglerfish species dwell far down in the ocean. They inhabit aphotic zones to where the suns’ light can not penetrate. A normal esca is therefore invisible. The deep living Angler fish species have solved this by entering a symbiotic relationship with a certain type of bacteria than produce light. The bacteria colonise the esca and make it glow in the dark, an example of so called bioluminescence. Bioluminescence is a common feature in deep sea living organisms and other predatory fishes in the aphotic zone will therefore assume that the small esca is a suitable prey. The rest of the Angler fish is dark and can not be detected in the aphotic environment. The light from the esca is not strong enough to illuminate the body of the fish, nor is the light from other bioluminescent organisms. The Angler fish can therefore stay completely hidden and ambush the unsuspecting predatory fish.

Deep sea Angler fish have developed an unusual method of reproduction. Once a male Anglerfish finds a female Anglerfish, he will never leave her. He attaches himself to her body using his sharp teeth and produces an enzyme that gradually allows him access to her blood stream. The two fishes will gradually melt together and the male will not hunt, he will get all the nutrition that he needs from the female Anglerfish. When she is ready to ovulate, the hormone levels in her blood will make the male produce sperm than can fertilize the eggs. In order for this method to be successful, the female Anglerfishes are much larger than the male. When the males have attached themselves to a female, they will actually deteriorate even further. One of the largest found female Anglerfishes was bigger than one yard (more than 90 centimeters). Some female Anglerfishes will allow several males to attach themselves to her.

Getting Tropical Fish Home

Your fish should have been packed in a plastic bag with oxygen and then put into a dark bag or polystyrene box to keep the heat in.

You should try and buy fish no longer than a couple of hours away. Fish can last over 24 hours if packed right but the longer you keep them in transit the more stress they go through. You should try and keep stress to a minimum to make sure the fish remain healthy.

Once you get them home you should float the bags in the water and then open the bags up. This will help equalize the temperature between the water in the tank and the water in the bag. You should also keep adding little bits of tank water to the bag. Add just a little and then leave for five minutes before adding more. This will help acclimatize the fish to the water chemistry of the tank and even the ph and water hardness out.

After doing this for about 20 to 30 minutes you should then gently release the fish to the tank and let them swim out of the bag on there own. Then you should leave them with the aquarium light on overnight. This will reduce stress because the fish can see where they are swimming and there surroundings and they will also see that there are no predators around.

You should not feed them for around 24 hours to let them settle in and then over the next few days only feed sparingly. It will take them a couple of days to get used to the tank and feeding.

It is a good technique to add the smallest and weakest fish to the tank first. This will prevent bullying in the aquarium between the fish. Please follow these keeps to keep the stress of your new tropical fish to a minimum. This will help the fish settle in faster and in the end cause you less stress.

Aquarium Fish Food

The feed could preferably be kept absolutely dry in a refrigerator. However, all fish appreciate a change of diet and will thank you for your consideration with more interesting behavior, better colours, and greater readiness to breed and better general well -being. This change of diet should be supplemented with live food; majority of which now come in irradiated freeze dried forms to make sure that they are disease free.

I will mention a few that could be found handy in some major aquarium shops and I will group them into two. And they are flake foods and freeze-dried foods

Flake foods

Most popular and highly recommended brands are Aquarian®, Tetra®, and Wardley®. They are varying in cost and quality. Wardley is the least expensive among the three. However, the Aquarian and Tetra are richer in specialty flakes compare to Wardley.

Freeze-dried foods

You will also find freeze-dried foods available in aquarium stores. They are favorite foods for aquarium fish. They have single animal-ingredient like mosquito larvae, blood worms and Tubifex worm each. Aquarist should note that freeze-foods are not in themselves complete diet but they can be combine to flake food or other type of freeze-dried foods. We shall discuss more about Tubifex as a popular freeze-dried food.

TUBIFEX – This is a traditional favorite food relished by most fishes. They are small red worms that live at the bottom of streams and rivers particularly where large amounts of organic matter are present. Therefore, it is difficult for the aquarist to collect them life from their habitat. It is therefore preferable to buy Tubifex from pet shops where they are already clean, freeze-dried and concentrated into cube forms.

From personal experience, Tubifex tubes could probably be the most exciting feed to use for fishes. The cube can be stuck to the front inside wall of the aquarium. The fishes in the tank will immediately come forward and bit off pieces of worms excitedly until satisfied.

White Spot Disease Symptoms and Cures

Most fish deaths are caused as a result of both an internal and external types parasites that compete with the fish in tank.

As a result if you watch your aquarium fish often you should be able to discover when they have been infected by this parasite and be able to treat them to avoid fish death.

Look out for the following White Spot disease behavioral symptoms in your fish.

  • Constant lying on the bottom or hanging at the surface.
  • Rubbing of the body against rocks
  • Gasping at the water surface
  • No response to feeding
  • General dullness and lethargy
  • Hovering in a corner
  • Fish swimming with clamps up

The most common of the visible signs is the development of the pin head-size while spots on the body or fins. This ailment is referred to as White Spot disease and is caused by the parasite – Ichthyophthirius Multifillis.

This parasite has a free-swimming stage, which attaches itself to the fish. The most common chemical used in treating infected fishes is Methylene Blue. You could buy a one per cent stock solution from a reputable chemist or aquarium shop and apply at 0.8 to 1.0ml per gallon of water. This amount should be added all at once. Repeat after one or two days.

The fishes must remain in this bath until every while spot has disappeared. A water change after treatment is necessary or else prolonged contact with the chemical may affect the fertility of the fish.

Another tip if you are using a side filter with activated charcoal should remove it to prevent the coal from absorbing the Methylene Blue.

Another tip… during treatment you should use artificial aeration with coarse bubbles near the surface, since a dirty bottom would inactivate the medicament by absorption. A better measure is to remove all dirt from the bottom before treatment.

Fish Make The Greatest Pets

When we found out we were expecting our first child we decided to decorate the nursery in tropical fish decor. Then we thought a fish tank in the room would be perfect for the “white noise” and for a nice little night light. So we bought a 10 gallon tank set that cost about $40 for everything but the fish. We had no clue about caring for fish, so we only got a few fancy guppies that were about $3 each. How cheap!!

Who knew we’d become addicted? Well, me anyways. We learned that guppies are live bearers, meaning that they have “live” babies instead of laying eggs and they can be all sorts of pretty colors. Needless to say, we learned a few things about raising guppies and haven’t spent any more money buying fish (well, except for a few more different colored guppies and a bigger tank to start breeding our own)!

Fish are so easy to take care of and are rather inexpensive to keep. We clean out their tank a little bit each month and spend about $2 on food for them that lasts about 3 months. The kids all love the guppies – their pretty colors and especially watching the babies grow. I love the guppies because they’re cheap, relaxing, neat, quiet and they teach the children about responsibility with having a pet.

Lungfish

All lungfish share the one common organ that has given them their name. They have developed lungs which allows for them to survive in water with very low oxygen levels where other fish can’t survive. The lungs also allow them to survive out of the water. The lungs found in lungfish are very similar to the lungs found in primitive reptiles.

Lungfish has been present since the Lower Devonian area which means that they have been around for more than 100 million years. The number of species used to be much more numerous in the past but all but six species are now extinct.

Lungfish are easily recognized on how they look. They have primitive looking snakelike bodies. All lungfish species can grow very big and the African lungfish can grow to be more than 2m / 6 feet long.

They are highly predatory species that eats or try to eat everything that fits into their large mouths. (Including aquarium decoration and heaters) Their natural diet consists of fish,crabs, crayfish and anything else they might find.

The Lepidosirenidae family of lungfish can survive in very little water and the African lungfish can survive without water for up to two years. South American lungfish survives low water levels by digging a hole in the bottom mud where they build a nest. They then wait in the nest until the water returns. The African Lungfish is an even better survivor. They don’t settle for building a nest but also cover their bodies with a secretion. This secretion forms a leather like cocoon that helps keep the lungfish moist until the water returns. They hibernate during the time they wait for the water to return and can as earlier mentioned survive in tried out desert like areas for up to two years or perhaps longer.

The Australian lungfish doesn’t hibernate like some other lungfishes. This makes them dependent on water but can be found and survive in very small water bodies.

Unpacking and Acclimatizing New Discus Fish

Unpacking

You need to unpack one box at a time, don’t go and open every box if you have 4 or 5. I know you want to look at your discus fish but please take your time. Take the lid off the first box and take one bag at a time out. Then open the bag, roll down the bag and float it in the water. Do this for the first box and then move onto the next stage.

Acclimatizing

Now the bags of discus are floating in the water, you need to use a little jug or something similar to gently pour tank water into the bag. You need to do this every five minutes for the next 30 minutes. This helps the fish get used to the difference in ph and water hardness. Then one bag at a time, tip the bag on its side and let the discus fish swim out in its own time.

Once you’ve done this for the first box then move on to the next.

You can also add some ‘stress coat’ or ‘melafix’ type product into your tank. I sometimes do this and have had positive results with discus settling a little quicker.

Leave dim lights on and don’t feed for 24 hours.

Your discus should then be settled in fine within a week

Keeping The Aquarium Clean for Goldfish

You will need to use a siphon to clean your goldfish tank because it efficiently cleans up the muck, does not disturb your fish and is easy to use. It’s essential to use during the partial water changes. A typical aquarium gravel vacuum would be a wide tube attached to a narrower siphon tube. By cleaning the gravel every week you would get rid of a lot of substances that could turn toxic for your fish over a period of time. Here’s how you begin the siphoning process:

  • Put a bucket on a low stool or even on the floor in front of the fish tank, and place the wide end of the gravel vacuum in the tank.
  • Now gently suck at the other end and hold it over the bucket. Once you feel the water flowing into the tube let it flow into the bucket. Be careful not to swallow the water though- but even if you do, it isn’t going to be harmful!
  • Now that the siphon has started, use the wider end to suck out the dirt and debris out of the gravel and flow out of the tank into the bucket.
  • Pass the vacuum end over all the gravel and keep doing so till you have removed 10 to 15% of the water.
  • If gravel gets stuck in the vacuum, release the gravel by plugging the other end of the siphon tube with your finger or thumb.
  • When you want to stop the siphon just raise both ends above the level of the tank
  • To stop the siphon, simply raise either end of the siphon above the surface level of the fish tank.

There are gravel vacuum that can be attached to a faucet but this would mean that you be putting back tap water directly into the tank which might not be good for your goldfish if there is a marked temperature difference. Also you would be adding all the chemicals present in the tap water without allowing the chlorine to evaporate. The best option is to keep a container of fresh water overnight.

The Weekly 10-15%

Cleaning your tank is essential to your goldfish’s well being. In fact, both your plants and your goldfish need fresh, clean and healthy water to survive. All you need to do is set aside a little time every week to do what is called a Partial Water Change or 10-15% Water Change.
This weekly routine will not only keep your aquarium look nice and clean, it will keep your goldfish healthy. Partial water changes are no sweat – all you have to do is scrape the algae, vacuum the gravel and replace the water you remove with fresh water. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Remove the algae on the surface of the tank with an algae scraper before you siphon out the water.
  • As the name suggests you need to remove 10 to 15% of the water from your aquarium.
  • There is no need to remove your fish to a separate container.
  • As you remove the water use the siphon to remove the messy deposits in the gravel.
  • In case you have an under gravel filter, then you would have to clean the gravel during weekly water changes.
  • Do not take out all the ornaments and decorations and scrub them clean because you might destroy some of the much-needed beneficial bacteria that act as natural biological filter.
  • You can clean the filters during the weekly water change but do not change all the cartridges, sponges, carbon packets, etc., as this might remove all the good bacteria and harm your goldfish in the long run.
  • Also remember to rinse any new filter media in cool running water before introducing it to the system.
  • Once you have siphoned out 10-15% of the water and most of the dirt and the alga, it’s time to replace the amount of water you removed with fresh, dechlorinated tap water which has been left at room temperature over night, in container free of soap residue.
  • Use a siphon to transfer the fresh water into the tank as this would be a gentle way to put the water back in and it won’t disturb the plants and the gravel. You would also spill a lot less!
  • Do make sure that the fresh water is of somewhat the same temperature as the water in the tank. You cannot just dunk in cold water because Goldfish are not tropical fish.
    Do remember to leave enough space between the top of the water and the tank hood so that your goldfish get enough oxygen to breathe in.

What not to do

  • If you see that the level in your aquarium has gone down, do not simply add water to make it level again. This is harmful, as you are not getting rid of the impurities in the water. You are just adding water without removing the dirt and thus making the water harder and more difficult for the goldfish to live in. So don’t add water to top off the tank, do a partial water change.
  • Never add water directly from the tap. Please keep a separate container only for aquarium use and leave the water overnight so that the harmful chemicals and chlorine evaporate.
  • Please do not skip weekly water changes because if you do not partially change the water, you are allowing the build up of waste products like Nitrate that are not removed by the filter, and contribute to the growth of algae.

Finding Out The Gender of Goldfish

  • The female Goldfish are slightly bigger than the males and look even heavier in the abdomen when they are full of eggs.
  • Male Goldfish develop white spots on their gills and pectoral called “breeding tubercles” during spawning time.
  • Males have midline ridges on their undersides beginning from the back of their pelvic fins and ending at their vent opening. This feature can be absent or smaller in females.
  • Males have firm abdomen while in females; the area between the pelvic fins and the anal fins is more pliable.
  • Male Goldfish have longer and pointed pectorals as well as stiff fin ray, while females have more rounded pectorals and shorter, finer front fin rays.
  • Male goldfish have smaller and more oval anal openings and the anal fins are not as thick as that of the female goldfish who has a larger and rounder anal opening with a slight protrude. The anal fin is also thicker.
  • The spawning time is the easiest time to distinguish the boys from the girls. The female opening will look larger and more swollen as the eggs begin to ripen. She would look big and heavier. Since fish reproduce through external fertilization, you can make out when a male is ready by the white breeding tubercles and you can actually push out the milt through his ventral opening by running a gentle finger along his sides.
  • There is one more obvious, but kind of time taking way to make out which one of your fish is male and female. Find out who is chasing who – the chaser will be the male and the chased and tired out one will be the female! It’s the natural tendency on part of the male goldfish to chase and nudge at a female’s rear part.